Situations to watch out for as a developer: cautionary tales

Discussion created by c0nsilience on Dec 4, 2014
Latest reply on Dec 5, 2014 by thebridge

Ok all, I know we've all run into this, at some point along the path of our FileMaker journeys: You've built up your chops, learned the ins & outs of FM best practices and have a lot of time under the hood of FileMaker, so you're ready to freelance, join a firm, etc. Basically, take it to the next level of being a developer and start earning some income from those tireless nights of study for certification and (seemingly) endless script memorization.


Then it happens...you get burned by a client/project/opportunity, the scope of project changes, someone doesn't feel the need to pay you for services rendered. I'm pretty sure it's happened to most of us along the way. I figured a thread that could serve a dual role, was in short order...i.e., cautionary tales and a way to vent out a little bit because it is a frustrating experience.


Without naming names (PM me if you want the name because the job posting is still active and shouldn't be), here's mine...


Recently, there was a job posting on the Career Net page in search of a developer for a really small company based on a single, somewhat basic, CRM solution. I recently started freelancing, about seven/eight months ago, and thought it might be a good idea to get in bed with a company to offset the feast or famine that freelancing can sometimes be. This individual was looking for a mid-level developer and seemed to be fairly legit. We conversed, shared samples, checked references and agreed on a salary that was mutually beneficial and had room for growth. I really didn't read too much into the interview other than both religion and politics got brought up, which should've been a massive red flag.


The very next day, this person contacts me and has some goofy, off-the-wall, Google-like quiz for me to complete (mind you, this is after samples have been shared and a figure has been agreed upon). Reluctantly, I agree to this quiz and we commence on a remote desktop session where I walk through what I would do, for example, to parse a lot of text taken from the body of an email. Well, it isn't what he would do....nevermind there are usually 3-4 ways minimum to accomplish a specific task in FileMaker. At this, he begins to backslide on the figure agreed upon....again, a red flag popped up and I, in my enthusiasm, ignored it.


Long story short, I spent a little over a day working with this individual before I realized that, in a likelihood, I probably wouldn't get paid at all. So, I cut it loose and we agreed that it wasn't a good fit. Flash forward a few weeks and I send him an invoice for the time I did spend that were billable hours and this is the exact response that I received:



"You wasted 3 + hours of my time which I bill at $125 an hour which would greatly offset your bill. Further more. I called and IM'd you at 2:00 the first day you did not respond until 5. If you were Doing the work you claim, you would have been available for my calls or at least promptly returned them ( not 3 hours later ). In addition I added up all the video's I have and the total time for them is 2.5 hours. So that tells me you were not watching the video’s I asked you to watch since it supposedly took you all after noon and 2 hours the next morning to get through them before telling me you really didn’t want the job you said you did. Finally you did not provide me any goods or services to pay you for. You were not an hourly employee and this is not Burger King. You were a subcontractor, contracted to provide me goods and services for which you would be paid."


Notice any contradictions, folks?


The lesson to be learned is this:


Go with your gut. Your time is more valuable than money and if it doesn't feel right, walk away.


It's very easy to lose perspective as a new developer because the client holds all the cards. In actuality, they don't. Like any relationship, it's a 50/50 parternship and should be treated as such. If the client, in this case, another developer, undervalues what you offer, walk away from the situation. If they didn't need help, they wouldn't advertise for it.


Please feel free to share your stories so maybe we can assemble a 'must read' thread.